I have seen a few questions now that have been asking for a recommendation for things like an app or a resource. For example, https://health.stackexchange.com/questions/1520/cross-platform-pedometer-apps-with-open-apis is asking for an app recommendation. It is a low quality question, but should other questions like this be on-topic? There is Software Recommendations SE where they would accept these types of questions if they have enough information.

Another type of question that I have seen asking for a recommendation are those asking for a resource for research or something similar. An example of this is https://health.stackexchange.com/questions/1523/brain-wave-research, which is asking for resources to help the OP learn about the effects of depression on brainwaves (though this specific question may be a better fit on Cognitive Sciences SE). Though this is a little bit different than the questions that ask for an app or something similar, it is still asking for a recommendation. The problem with this is that there isn't an SE site that will always take these questions.

So, should all questions asking for recommendations be on-topic? Or should certain types of recommendations be on-topic while others are not (ie: asking for resource - on-topic; asking for app recommendation - off-topic)?


I think that recommendations that ask for apps or software should be off-topic and migrated to Software Recommendations SE (if they are a good question with enough information). Because we already have an SE site that can take these questions, I don't think that we should have to deal with them as they are not always directly related to health, and they can be very broad or opinionated.

Recommendations asking for resources where you learn about medical or health related topics should be on-topic. As long as the OP is looking for resources that actually have to deal with health, and they are not too broad, we should keep them. Something that isn't too broad is , https://health.stackexchange.com/questions/1523/brain-wave-research (though it is most likely better fit on Cognitive Sciences SE). It is asking for a specific topic, in this case resources that have information about the effects of depression on brainwaves, then I think that it is a good, answerable question. Had it instead been asking for resources with information about brainwaves, then it should be closed as too broad because there's hundreds of resources out there that can help you learn about brainwaves.

  • While I agree that apps asking should be asked on SR, I think its on-topic-ness should be further discuss. Apps are just digital tools or devices, just like physical products. However, while physical products are widely accepted from doctors, apps are written by developers and appear on the store faster. While devs have a lot of idea, most of them are lacking advance medical knowledge and therefore need a look from doctors or other experience persons to make sure there is no falsify claim (or worse, harm) from the app.
    – Ooker
    Aug 6 '15 at 5:54
  • @Ooker I actually just had a discussion on this subject with other moderators. They also think that the users on SR might not have the expertise to provide reliable recommendations for medical apps and software.
    – michaelpri
    Aug 7 '15 at 22:07
  • Sooo, is there any consensus?
    – Ooker
    Aug 8 '15 at 4:35

I think many people will come here looking for legitimate places to find legitimate help for whatever concerns they have. I don't think this community will ever be able to eliminate "recommendation" questions, but I don't think it should. I don't think this means the community should help with prescriptions and specific topics like that, but I think “broad” questions are valid. For example, I asked this question: Is there a good site for drug reviews?

Maybe I should have asked that better. I shouldn't have asked if there is a good site, but rather if there are good sites. I think this kind of question is legitimate.

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